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Full text of "The Cambridge Natural History"

A STRANDED RORQUAL                            355

above the waves the lamellae fell and covered the eyes." Whale-
bone, too, lias been often spoken of as " the fin of a whale," ** the
finnes that stand, forth of their mouths." The value of whale-
bone is still great, in spite of various substitutes which are now
used In its place. In the year "18 9 7, for example, the value of
this article was £2000 per ton. As a single "Wiiaie may produce
several tons of this material, it is not siirprising to find that the
results of a whaling voyage may be very profitable.
Fam. 1. Baiaeaopteiiiiae.-—This genus BalaenopUra includes
the Borquals, which are Whalebone Whale? of large size, differing
from the Right Whales in three important external characters :
the head is comparatively small; there is a dorsal fin ; the throat
is marked 'by numerous longitudinal furrows. The bones of the
cranium are not so arched as in the Right Whales, and as a
consequence the plates of baleen are shorter. The hand is only
four-tinkered. The cervical vertebrae are for the most part all
frca. One of the earliest records of a Whale stranded in the
Thames wan probably of a species of this genus in the year 1658,
and is thus described by John Evelyn:—" A large whale was
taken betwixt my land butting on the Thames and Greenewich,
which drew an infinite concourse to see it, by water^ horse, coach,
and on foot, from London and ail parts. ... It was killed with
a harping yron, struck in the head, out of which spouted blood
and water by two tunnells, and after an horrid gron© it ran
quite on shore and died. Its length was 5 8 foot, heighth 16 ;
black skinn'd like coach leather, very small eyes, greate taile,
onely two small finns, a picked snout, and a mouth so wide that
divers men might have stood upright in it; no teeth, but suck'd
slime onely as thro9 a grate of that bone which we call whale-
bone, the fchroate yet so narrow as would not have admitted the
least of fishes . . . all of it prodigious, but in nothing more
wonderful that an animal of so greate a bulk should be nourished
onely by slime thro* those grates."
Professor Collett has recently given1 an elaborate account of the
characters and habits of this great Whale (^Balaenoptera mu&sulits).
Though a large beast (44 to 67 feet in length) it is exceeded by
other Borquals ; it is of a dark grey blue colour above, white, for
the most part, below. The dorsal fin is large and high; the
flippers relatively slender and smalL Tbe whole throat from the
1 In Frmx